Sporting vs Plzen

After five consecutive matches without a defeat, four victories and a draw, players of Sporting suffered 2:1 narrow defeat away from home against Porto last Friday evening in a game that probably pretty much decided their faith in the title race.
The truth is that the players of Sporting probably deserved more out of the game, as Porto took the lead in 28th minute via Marcano and even though Leao leveled up in last moments of the first halftime, hosts re-installed the lead in 49th minute already via Brahimi.
Home team had the lead for the most of the game, being satisfied with it, while the Lions were the ones who had more of the ball possession and overall chances created. It was only their second defeat in Primeira so far, but the side now stands at third position with eight points less than leaders from Porto and three less than second placed Benfica.
As for the Europa League, Sporting progressed over Astana in previous round by taking a 3:1 victory on the road in the first leg and having interesting 3:3 game in second at home, without many troubles regarding the progress as they conceded two late goals in that match.

Hosts should be lined in a version of 4-2-3-1 formation with Montero as central striker, plus Ruiz, Fernandes and Martins as offensive midfielders. Forward Seydou Doumbia (13/0) was forced off in a previous game against Porto and is not expected to feature here.
With striker Bas Dost (21/20) also being doubtful for this one, Fredy Montero seems quite sure to start at least. Offensive midfielder Daniel Podence (12/0) is injured and won’t play, while right back Cristiano Piccini (20/0) remains a doubt.
Plzen had almost incredible first part of the season, as the side had fifteen victories and only one draw in first sixteen rounds of the Czech 1. Liga, however it’s obvious that the team isn’t close to their best in last few weeks.
After a goalless game away to Sigma Olomouc in the first match since the restart of the league, the side also suffered quite unexpectedly 0:1 defeat in front of own fans last weekend against Jihlava.
Only goal was scored back in 22nd minute via Tlusty against the flow of the game while the home team remained much better during the game but the scoreline simply never changed. The team still has a solid eleven points advantage over second placed Slavia Prague.
As for the Europa League, they managed to exclude Serbian side Partizan after a 1:1 game in Belgrade where they probably were a bit lucky to walk away with a draw, but the side looked better in second leg when they won 2:0, against visitors who tried to open up towards the end of the clash, but had no real weapon in attack.
Guests are set to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation as well, using Krmencik as central striker, but also Petrzela, Kolar and Kopic as offensive midfielders. Central back Marian Cisovsky (no performance this season anyway) should be their only injury concern.
~ There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 7 of Sporting’s last 8 games (UEFA Europa League).
Sporting will miss quality players in attack, however the side has many weapons and I believe that they can get significant advantage against the Czech side before the second leg. Visitors are far away from their best form and it will be really difficult task for them to stay fully competitive in the first leg.

Bet: Sporting -1.25 AH

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